The redemption of experience: On Walter Benjamin's 'hermeneutical materialism'

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (2):167-188 (2011)
The aim of this article is to show how philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin related to the hermeneutical tradition — and tried to move beyond it by ‘redeeming’ human experience, while avoiding the pitfalls of the philosophy of ‘authenticity’. Though convinced that questions relating to historicity were central to any understanding of modern human experience, Benjamin explicitly rejected the Heideggerian alternative, and chose a path closer to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s. He attempted to combine theological interpretation with dialectical materialism, always grounding hermeneutics in the concrete manifestations of social life, inaugurating a method which I suggest could be called ‘hermeneutical materialism’. At stake was a politically motivated defence of the ‘mimetic faculty’ — understood as (re)interpretation — in the modern, technologically organized world.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453710387069
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Alfredo Lucero-Montaño (2010). On Walter Benjamin's Historical Materialism. Astrolabio. Revista Internacional de Filosofía 2010 (10):126-131.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #134,721 of 1,724,892 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,138 of 1,724,892 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.